39 reels (12,500 ft.) silent,
b&w, 16 mm motion picture film
The films in the Porter W. Yett Motion
Picture Collection were taken by Mr. Yett in the early years of the Swigert,
Hart & Yett Company to document their construction projects. They were used
for marketing and promotion of the company's services and products. Several
cement and concrete projects are featured, including a number of buildings. The
collection also contains films taken during trips to Crater Lake, Boston, and
New York. Although the Swigert, Hart & Yett Company was founded in 1928,
several of the films appear to be earlier than that, perhaps dating from the
time Mr. Yett first became interested in concrete mixing trucks, about
Funding for encoding this
finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for
Porter W. Yett was born in Tennessee in 1892, and came to Portland with
his family while still a young child. In 1911, at the age of 19, he joined with
William D. Wheelwright and Sanderson Reed to form the City Motor Trucking
Company, delivering paving materials to construction projects around Portland.
Mr. Yett was the manager of the company. In 1927, while continuing to operate
City Motor Trucking, he became interested in transit concrete mixers, trucks
which mixed concrete while they were en route to the construction site. The
following year he was one of the founders of Swigert, Hart & Yett Company
which specialized in concrete mixing and delivery. He made several improvements
to the trucks over the years. An active athlete and outdoorsman, he was
involved in baseball, boxing, football, fishing and hunting. He died in
The films in the Porter W. Yett Motion Picture Collection were taken by
Mr. Yett in the early years of the Swigert, Hart & Yett Company to document
their construction projects. The films were used for marketing and promotion of
the company's services and products. Several cement and concrete projects are
featured including ramps to the Broadway Bridge, widening and paving several
Portland streets, the Denver Avenue viaduct, and grain elevators on the
Willamette River. A number of buildings are included, among them a Buick
warehouse, Shell Oil plant, an addition to Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church, and
Grand Central Public Market. The collection also contains films taken during
trips to Crater Lake, Boston, and New York.
Use of the Collection
Alternative Forms Available :
Preview videotape available for materials noted below.
Restrictions on Access :
The collection is open to the public. Only materials with preview
videotapes are available to view.
Restrictions on Use :
The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the
Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication,
and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library
before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to
all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may
require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.
Preferred Citation :
Porter W. Yett Company Motion Picture Collection, Oregon Historical
Society Research Library.
Each film has been numbered separately.
Acquisition Information :
Gift of Steve Yett, 1998, accession number 23454.
Processing Note :
Some materials were not copied to video due to damage or the fragile
condition of the original film.
Detailed Description of the Collection
06261 YETT: [Street repair and Prindle
Company picnic], 1928
This film documents concrete construction techniques of the
1920s. The film especially shows building a street using shovels and a
pneumatic tamper at a downtown Portland construction site, possibly on Third
Avenue. The middle segment shows a company picnic.
06262 YETT: [Road paving and construction,
Portland water front], [between 1925 and 1935]
There are four segments to this film. The first shows a paving
project on SE Morrison St. between Water and First Avenue. There are several
scenes of men working with the newly poured cement to level and smooth it. The
location shown in the second segment is unknown. It shows men pouring cement at
a construction site near trolley or railroad tracks. The third segment is again
near the east bank of the Willamette River, and includes the waterfront from
the Hawthorne Bridge to the Morrison Bridge. It includes footage of several
gravel barges covered in snow. The final segment shows the construction of the
Sears, Roebuck Co. building. It includes scenes of the work site and pouring
concrete over rebar.
06263 YETT: [Construction and
paving], [between 1925 and 1935]
There are four segments in this film. The first shows a paving
project on E. Burnside at 3rd Avenue. It includes footage of cement mixers and
African-American laborers. The second segment shows a freight truck from
Portland-Eugene W.V.T. (Willamette Valley Transfer) Co. at a loading dock on SE
Water Avenue as traffic goes around it. The third segment shows equipment on a
freight train (the box was labeled "plant on rock car." The final segment shows
workmen mixing concrete at a construction site near a residential neighborhood.
No exact location is given.
06265 YETT: [Portland General Electric's
conduit near the Swan Island airport], [between 1927 and 1930]
There are four segments in this film. The first shows a
roadbuilding project near an airport, possibly on Swan Island, including the
workmen stopping to watch a small plane landing. The second segment shows the
repair of a street where the old concrete had been cut. There are closeup views
of the edge of the old concrete showing the gravel and stones included. The
third segment demonstrates a machine for smoothing and tamping large areas such
as roadways. The final segment shows construction of a Portland Electric Power
Company (PEPCo) conduit near the Portland airport. The workmen are filling a
ditch containing a pipe.
06266 YETT: [Blaines agitator at Front Street
paving project; KGW radio tower; family trip to Crater Lake], [between 1930 and 1935]
There are five segments in this film. The first shows a
keg-shaped cement mixer truck with a gear and chain drive mechanism to keep the
drum revolving. The truck is shown, often in close-up, pouring cement into
large crates for dumping over reinforcement in the paving of Front Avenue. The
second segment shows a broadcast tower being built for KGW radio, and
emphasizes the reinforcement and pipes that will be covered by the concrete.
The third segment is a family trip to Crater Lake, and features the chipmunks
of the area. The fourth segment is a short scene of golfing, and may be part of
the Crater Lake trip. The final segment shows another style of concrete mixer
truck with a conical style of drum. Several of the trucks are lined up to show
how they tilt when pouring. The trucks are then loaded inside a shed. The film
ends with the trucks delivering cement into chutes at a construction site.
06267 YETT: Building a four story concrete
garage for the Buick Motor Car Co., Portland, Oregon, 1930
The film starts with an outdoor use of the Yett Transit System
for delivering cement, showing a truck on a ramp next to the building site.
Using up only three feet of the street, so traffic can pass, the mixer truck
pours concrete into a hopper which is lifted to the top of the construction
site and dumped into the form. The second scene shows a similar truck pouring
concrete into indoor forms for a warehouse floor.
06268 YETT: [Construction of Model Pipe
warehouse and grain storage towers], 1930
The film opens with construction trucks on a downtown street
blocking one lane of traffic as they deliver materials to the construction
site. Several dump trucks back up a short ramp to deliver their loads into a
hopper. The second section shows the finale of construction of additional
storage units for grain at Terminal No. 4 in St. Johns. The wooden tower used
to deliver concrete to the top of the building site is pulled down on 4
September 1930. Two men involved in the expansion project, Albert Merrill of
the Commission of Public Docks and Mr. Fargo, the contractor's chief engineer,
settle a bet regarding the fallen tower.Appearing: Albert D. Merrill, Mr. Fargo.
06269 YETT: [Concrete road
paving], [between 1930 and 1935]
The film shows the paving of a residential street, from the
dumping of the concrete to the smoothing of the finished road surface.
This film shows several stages of the construction of the Denver
Avenue viaduct over the Oregon Slough to the Interstate Bridge. It shows a
coffer dam holding back the river while underwater concrete is poured into the
forms for the abutment. It then shows the building of the roadway atop the
abutments. A Pope & Talbot lumber mill is in the background.
06271 YETT: [Concrete road
construction], [Probably between 1930 and 1935]
This film shows city and county officials inspecting several
road building projects including paving commercial streets, paving residential
streets in the city and suburbs, and street widening in the city and
suburbs.Appearing: Clay S. Morse, Multnomah County Commissioner; Porter
W. Yett; Angus Fleming, Chief City Street Inspector (Portland); George Buck,
Multnomah County Road Master; Mr. Osborne, Paris Transit Mixer Co.; Charles F.
Swigert; Jesse Hannam, Supervising Engineer (Portland).
06272 YETT: [Kerr's Patent Flour grain
elevator construction], 
Scenes of the construction of the concrete silos at the Kerr
Gifford & Co. grain elevator on the Willamette River. The film includes
many views of the construction site, moving the concrete by truck, hopper,
chutes and wheelbarrows. The silos are approximately five stories high when the
film was taken. One scene shows close-ups of several unidentified men, possibly
managers of either the construction or the flouring operation.
This film shows the construction of the Tenth Avenue ramp to the
Broadway Bridge. It includes views of the construction site, pouring concrete
from mixer trucks through several kinds of chutes, preparation of forms for
pouring footings, wall and roadbed, and using wheelbarrows to move concrete
from truck to pouring site. There are several good close-up views of working
concrete around steel reinforcing rods.Appearing: Fred T. Fowler, City of Portland bridge engineer;
Alfred Hansen, A.M. Pilbuch, City of Portland bridge inspectors; Mr. Lindstrom,
2 copies. Second copy not repaired due to fragile condition.
06274 YETT: [Bridge ramp and
Continuing the construction of the ramp to the Broadway Bridge,
including pouring the sidewalk area connected to the ramp. The film includes
many scenes of the reinforcing steel used on the ramp, pouring and tamping the
concrete around the reinforcement, and overviews of the construction site. The
railroad yards are shown briefly.
2 copies. Appearing: Olaf Laurgaard, Portland City Engineer.
06276 YETT: [Loading concrete, paving East
Broadway and Omaha Avenue], 1928
The film opens with scenes of loading cement into mixing trucks
at the Swigert, Hart & Yett plant. Examples are shown of road paving,
including tamping and rolling the surface, and paving an alleyway, where space
is extremely limited. Further examples include widening East Broadway and
paving Omaha Avenue and a ramp to the Broadway Bridge. Several men inspect the
work, and enjoy some chewing tobacco. Includes scenes of the railyards near the
Broadway Bridge, and the construction elevator used to move concrete to the
upper parts of the construction site.Appearing: D.W. Rowe, engineer for Lindstrom & Feigenson;
Geo. B. Herrington, secretary of the Portland chapter of Associated General
Contractors; Wm. Feigenson, president of Lindstrom & Feigenson; H.D.
Mercer, secretary and treasurer of Mercer Steel Co.; Mr. Lindstrom of Lindstrom
& Feigenson; Alfred Hanson, an inspector.
06277 YETT: Linnton Road, Multnomah
County, [between 1920 and 1928]
Documentation of the "old method" of road paving in which the
materials to form the concrete were delivered separately and mixed on site. The
film shows the stockpiles of gravel and sand, the bags of dry cement along the
side of the project, and the mixing machine which produced each load of
06278 YETT: [Unidentified construction
site], [circa 1928-circa 1932]
Filmed on a large construction site, this reel demonstrates the
use of a large chute for delivering concrete several stories below street
level. Mixers pour concrete directly into some of the chutes which appear to be
about two stories long. Other trucks pour their loads into hoppers which lift
the concrete up to the beginning of the chute. All of the chutes are delivering
concrete to a rebar-covered floor area.
06279 YETT: [Loading perfect mix concrete
with Yett transit system at Swigert, Hart & Yett inc. plant in Portland,
The film begins with concrete being poured into a portable mixer
truck at Swigert, Hart & Yett's main plant. Gravel is delivered, and dumped
into a pit from where a conveyor belt takes it up to the hopper to be added to
the mixture. The scene moves to a road-paving site where several children watch
the crew pouring and smoothing the cement. Mr. Yett explains the procedure to
Mr. Morse and Mr. Fleming. Hoses sprinkle water on the curing concrete after it
has been leveled and tamped using a long board. The group next moves to an
alley in a residential area where there is little extra space between the
houses to demonstrate how well the mixer trucks work in tight areas. The men
stand on boards suspended over the street to smooth the concrete as there is no
room to use their usual long-handled rollers. The film ends with Mr. Buck
inspecting a newly paved road.Appearing: Clay S. Morse (Multnomah County commissioner), Porter
W. Yett (Manager, Swigert, Hart & Yett, Inc.), Angus Fleming (chief
Portland city street inspector), George Buck (Multnomah County road
06280 YETT: [Unidentified
construction], [between 1925 and 1935]
Scenes of several construction projects, beginning with a large
building, then a site near the Steel Bridge, a round storage building, and a
site requiring cement footings, possibly the Broadway Bridge ramp.
The film begins with a large crane hoisting a section of metal
support into place. Then the roadbed is prepared and poured. Trolley tracks
supports are laid in the concrete on the outside lanes of the viaduct. The film
includes many views of the steel reinforcements for the concrete. It also shows
a small tractor. Lindstrom & Feigenson are the contractors for the
The film is in four segments. The first shows the Swigert, Hart
& Yett plant where mobile mixers are being loaded. The second documents
building a cement wall at the Shell Oil Plant in northwest Portland. The third
shows mixer trucks delivering to a building site where a hopper is used is used
to pour concrete. The fourth shows the beginning of the construction of the
Sunday School building at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church on Belmont Street. In
one scene a trolley passes the building site.
06283 YETT: [Pouring retaining wall at foot
of Fremont Street], [between 1928 and1932]
This film shows the building of a concrete wall, partially below
ground level. Wheelbarrows are used to move the concrete from the mixer truck
to the forms. The film ends with the finished wall.
06284 YETT: [Grand central public
The film documents the construction of the Grand Central Public
Market building (later Grand Central Bowl, a bowling alley) on SE Morrison
between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. The footage includes several pans of the
neighboring buildings, as well as images of the construction work. Construction
scenes include pouring the concrete floor, driving pilings, moving concrete
with wheelbarrows, filling forms around rebar, and smoothing out the poured
The film shows the construction of a ramp to the Broadway
Bridge, emphasizing the retaining walls and the closely spaced reinforcing
steel that the concrete must surround. There are also scenes (repeated in other
films) that show the Portland railyards, men wiring reinforcing steel rods
together into a framework, the use of timber falsework, excavating with
dragline and shovels, and a elevator used to raise concrete from the mixer
truck to the hopper for filling wheelbarrows. There is also a scene of men
using chewing tobacco.
Repeats scenes from MI 06273, MI 06274, MI 06276, MI 06281, and
06286 YETT: [Building grain
elevators], [Between 1925 and 1935]
The film begins with a steam-powered pile driver working in the
midst of a large construction site. Part of the site is a lumber storage yard
for the building of forms. After the pilings are all in place, reinforcing
steel rods are laid in a mesh over them. There are many scenes of the concrete
being poured by wheelbarrows on various levels of the construction, and men
adjusting equipment throughout the site. By the end of the film the grain silos
are more than one story high. In the final scenes, a man sits atop the chute
pouring cement from the hopper into the wheelbarrows to operate the control
06288 YETT: [Broadway Bridge ramp and other
transit construction], 
The film opens with a close look at the retaining walls on the
10th Avenue ramp to the Broadway Bridge. The next section shows concrete being
poured between the ties on railway tracks, and steel reinforcement being wired
together. There are several views of timber falsework, followed by digging
using dragline and shovels. The end of the film returns to the Broadway Bridge
06289 YETT: Widening pavement of East
Broadway Street, 
The film shows two paving projects. The first widens East
Broadway (now NE Broadway) by several feet on each edge of the street. One side
of the street is nearly finished when this footage was taken. Workmen are
pouring and filling the other side. Traffic moves down the middle of the road,
on the old street bed, and on the side streets. The second project is the
paving of Omaha Avenue (now N. Omaha Ave.). One side of the street has been
finished, and work continues on the other half. The project is inspected by
several men, including Charles Swigert, part owner of Perfect Mix Cement.Appearing: Mr. Osborne (Paris Transit Mixer Co.), Chas. F.
Swigert (Swigert-Hart & Yett Co.), Jesse Hannam (supervising engineer of
street paving, Portland)
06290 YETT: [Concrete plant and
yard], [Between 1925 and 1935]
Various scenes around a cement company plant including an
old-style mixing truck, the aggregate storage piles, the interior of the mixing
plant, tilting the cement mixer by hand and washing out the interior of the
mixer, filling a mixer truck, and the conveyors used to move sacks of cement to
the second story of the mixer building.
Note on can reads "Seattle film."
06291 YETT: [Boston,
Massachusetts], [Between 1925 and 1930]
Documenting several Boston area concrete and aggregate
companies: Boston Transit Mixers, Boston Concrete Corp., and William I.
McCormack Sand Co. Also includes harbor scenes, various cement plants, and a
railyard in the snow.
Camerawork is wobbly and erratic.
06292 YETT: [New York City], [between 1925 and 1930]
Many scenes of city streets after a snowstorm, including
horse-drawn wagons removing snow, piles of aggregate waiting in a concrete
company yard, street vendors and a mock boxing match in the street, and a stone
The collection is indexed under the following headings in the online
catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or
places should search the catalog using these headings:
Personal Names :
Fowler, Fred T.
Morse, Clay S.
Yett, Porter W.
Corporate Names :
Corporation. Buick Motor Division
Kerr, Gifford & Co.,
Portland Electric Power
Swigert, Hart & Yett
Subject Terms :
Automobiles -- 1920-1930 --
Building sites -- Oregon --
Chipmunks -- Oregon --
Churches, Presbyterian --
Oregon -- Portland
industry -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Construction workers --
Oregon -- Portland
Grain elevators -- Oregon
Marine terminals -- Oregon
Pavements, Concrete --
Oregon -- Portland
Picnics -- 1920-1930 --
Railroads -- Design and
construction -- Oregon -- Portland
Roads -- Design and
construction -- Equipment and supplies
Roads -- Design and
construction -- Oregon
Snow removal -- New York
(State) -- New York
Street vendors -- New York
(State) -- New York
Street-railroads -- Design
and construction -- Oregon -- Portland
Streets -- Maintenance and
repair -- Oregon -- Portland